Dental erosion is the loss of tooth structure caused by chemical agents, predominantly through acid attack. Frequent and persistent exposure to acids essentially softens and dissolves teeth.
There are various causes of dental erosion and they can be divided into the following groups:
Dietary sources of acid
Some examples of dietary sources of acid that can lead to erosion are listed below:
- Citrus fruits and fruit juices
- Carbonated drinks i.e. soft drinks
- Acidic sports drinks
- Vinegar and pickled produce
- Vitamin C
Gastrointestinal sources of acid
Acid wear may arise from the gastric liquids or gas escaping from the stomach. For example, reflux, vomiting and belching produce an acidic environment in the mouth. Common conditions likely to increase the incidence of dental erosion include recurrent vomiting associated with pregnancy, travel sickness, and eating disorders i.e. builimia.
Environmental sources of acid
Some occupations have greater risk of developing acid wear, such as a professional swimmer with constant exposure to chlorinated water.
Symptoms of dental erosion vary depending on its severity, though usually present as tooth sensitivity to cold, hot and sweet items. Erosion is a serious condition as it is irreversible and the tooth structure is unable to reform. For more information, assessment or management please contact Pro Dental.
Alba Tessitore, Oral Health Therapist